ACORN members will be at city hall on Thursday, April 18 to respond to a report on the city’s efforts over the last four years to crack down on slum landlords. The city has been quietly cutting inspection and enforcement programs designed in 2009 to help make sure tenants have safe, clean places to live.
Because of pressure from ACORN between 2005 and 2008, the City of Toronto created the Multi-Residential Apartment Building Audit Program. For the first time in history, inspections of rental housing were pro-active. The city set a goal of inspecting 200 buildings a year and following up as necessary to make sure needed repairs were getting done.
At first the system worked well. Inspections and follow up were happening and working as intended. Twelve inspectors, plus support staff, plus staff from other city departments as needed, made significant progress.
Since 2010 the program has been cut from 12 inspectors to 8. Two inspectors were reassigned to look for graffiti.
In 2009 the city prosecuted negligent landlords 60 times; in 2010 there were 116 violations; last year there were 2. What has this meant for tenants? In 2009, more than 90% of the infractions identified by the city were resolved; last year it was 42%
“This is an embarrassment. Tenants deserve Healthy Homes. The city needs to enforce the laws,” said Edward Lantz, leading member of Toronto ACORN.